Friday, May 25, 2007

Calling All Former "Ex-Gays"

As readers of this site know, I have a longstanding problem with the deceit that is being carried on by the "exgay" ministries. Statistically and realistically, "exgays" do not exist. That's not to say that there aren't some people, in their natural walk of life, haven't experienced fluidity in their orientation. But the idea that someone can physically force a change in their sexuality through religion is, simply, nonsense.

Several years ago, when a prominent psychologist, Dr. Spitzer, went looking for exgays to do a study, it took him over 2 years to find barely a handful, and almost all of them were being paid to be "exgay." And as we have learned from former "exgays," one of the techniques used by change ministries to get people to convert is to "claim" their exgay-ness before it actually happens.

It's all a big religious sham that would be completely invisible if it weren't being funded by men like Dr. James Dobson, who uses these ministries and their leaders in Washington to block gay rights. They're not satisfied with merely trying to "minister" to "people with unwanted same sex attraction." They are determined to undermine the interfere in the lives of healthy gay people to whom they have no connection.

So, today when I got this in my inbox, I wanted to share it. If you've ever been a part of an exgay ministry, we want your story. It's time to push back against these religious fascists and tell the truth of what they are doing. People have spent literally tens of thousands of dollars on these snake oil salesmen and driven a great many of them to suicide.

TWO Urges All Former 'Ex-Gays' To Participate In The Campaign And Save Lives

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - Truth Wins Out launched its "Talking Truth" Internet video campaign today, so Americans can finally learn from the victims of "ex-gay" ministries how these misleading groups are ineffective and ruin lives. The video testimonies paint an accurate portrait of "ex-gay" groups that teach client's denial, while offering false promises about changing from gay-to-straight. The Talking Truth campaign also gives hope to those who are still ensnared in the "ex-gay" trap and lets them know that they can remain both spiritual and openly gay.

"We hope our videos will save lives and make it more difficult for Exodus to seduce young people with its fictions and fabrications." said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out. "In our campaign, people will hear directly from the victims and see that these programs simply don't work and can be a drain on time, money and self-esteem. We urge all former ex-gays to immediately contact Truth Wins Out and tell us your compelling story on video, so we can continue to rescue people harmed by 'ex-gay' programs."

For thirty years, Exodus International, an umbrella group for "ex-gay" ministries, has used fear tactics and propaganda to recruit victims. The organization usually relies on the testimonies of paid staff or political lobbyists to deceive Americans into believing the gay can be prayed away. The Talking Truth campaign will finally let people hear from the vast majority of clients - not those on a right wing group's payroll - who found that Exodus and other "ex-gay" organizations offer false hope.

"We are airing these stories on the Internet, because this is where most vulnerable gay people will search for information about homosexuality," said TWO Board member and Exodus victim, Rev. Jerry Stephenson, who appeared in a Talking Truth video.

In the first video - which is in the format of a public service announcement - Shawn O'Donnell, a victim of New Hope, an Exodus affiliate in California, warns those thinking of entering ex-gay programs that he wasted 10 years of his life and $45,000 trying to change. In a second video, O'Donnell discusses how members of his ex-gay group used to cruise the mall for men each Sunday, highlighting the ineffectiveness of Exodus.

In a third, similarly formatted video, Rev. Jerry Stephenson, formerly a Southern Baptist minister who now counsels "ex-gay" victims, urges others not to follow in his footsteps, by dedicating years of their life pursuing a cruel, mentally abusive hoax.

In a final video - edited in a longer format - Victoria Lavin discusses how she wasted thirty years trying to go from gay to straight. Her long journey included prayer, dating men, substance abuse and finally the realization while in recovery that she was fine, just the way she was.

Truth Wins Out will add new video testimonies to its collection throughout the year. This ongoing educational campaign will look at this issue from many different angles and allow victims to help expose the "ex-gay" myth, as the sham it truly is.

Additionally, Truth Wins Out urges all former ex-gays to attend a survivor's conference sponsored by Beyond Ex-Gay and SoulForce (June 29-July 1) at the University of California Irvine.

"This conference is a terrific opportunity to tell your story and meet other people who share similar experiences," said Besen, who plans on attending. "Truth Wins Out is excited about this historic gathering and thinks it will help get the truth out about the ex-gay myth, as well as assist people who are still recovering from their time in ex-gay programs."

Truth Wins OUT is a non-profit organization that counters right wing propaganda, exposes the "ex-gay" myth and educates America about gay life. For more information, visit
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